Panama Canal Boat Trip

The Panama Canal is fascinating and I’d always wanted to take one of those boat trips up the canal. I found a good deal on a partial transit, so this was the basis of our plans to spend some time in Panama City. Of course I took tons of photos so it was hard to narrow it down to this (still fairly large) collection.

The trip was great and we had a wonderful guide, so we really learned a lot. I have included some links at the bottom of this post if you want to read further about some of things in the photos. And, of course for general information about the canal, Google will bring up many sources.

This was a great trip and I’m so glad we got to do it. I have heard about the Panama Canal all my life, and it’s importance to the whole world. Never in my life though did I think I would actually see the canal, let alone travel on it.

Below are some links to more information about some of the things we saw, and my favorite webcam.

The first is a WEBCAM that I used to watch in Florida while I spent hours at my desk doing paperwork. This Live Ships Map is also cool because you can look up information about the ships in the canal.

Biodiversity Museum by Frank Gehry – visit the Official Website This is the colorful building on the Amador Causeway, and the only work of Frank Gehry in Central America. We were told that if you view it from above, it looks like a toucan in flight.

Bridge of the Americas, the first bridge we passed under. The guide told us it is customary to kiss your sweetheart as you pass under it.

The Nordic Wolverine, the oil tanker that proceeded us through the locks.

The Centennial Bridge, the second bridge we passed under.

The Genius Star, the cargo ship we passed in the Pedro Miguel lock.

The Culebra Cut, the narrowest and most difficult part of the canal. It was also a huge challenge in the construction of the canal. Our guide told us that when the canal expansion is complete, there will be another passageway so ships can go in both directions. It will greatly increase the daily capacity of the canal and there will no longer be scores of ships parked in the water, often for 2-3 days, waiting their turn to go through the canal.

The Northern Dancer of Gibraltar, the tanker that looked like it needed new paint.

The Gunhild Kirk, the British oil tanker we passed in the Culebra Cut.

The El Renacer Prison – an article about the arrival of Noreiga there.

The Hafnia Crux, and Danish oil tanker that also passed us in the Culebra Cut.

The Titan is the huge crane that was built in Germany in 1941 under Hitler’s orders. The US got it as war booty and it was in Long Beach CA for many years. It was eventually sold to Panama in 1996 for $1. Shipping it here in pieces, refurbishing it, and putting it back together cost a bit more than that, but now it is used when a door to a lock is removed for maintenance.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Exploring Panama, Panama, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Panama Canal Boat Trip

  1. oldsalt1942 says:

    Very VERY cool. That’s something I have to do soon, too.
    Those markers you showed are called “range” markers. They are visual aids to help the pilots and helmsmen to keep the ships in the channel they need to be in. You’ll notice that there are two white markers with a black vertical line. The pilot maneuvers the ship so that the black line on the top marker is in line with the one on the bottom marker.

    I became very familiar with using range markers taking boats up and down the Intracoastal Waterway in South Carolina and Georgia where the waterway winds around in serpentine fashion and the channels are very narrow. Without using the ranges you’d easily run aground.


    • Thanks for the information about range markets. I’m sure it’s tricky thing to maneuver those huge ships through that section of canal.
      Every now and then groupon or Oferta Simple has discounts for tickets for a canal trip. If I see another I’ll send it to you. It’s a very fun and interesting trip and I’m sure you’d think so too.


  2. indacampo says:

    Great job of documenting your trip Kris! Gracias!


  3. Laurie says:

    Thanks for bringing Panama to me.


  4. shellmcc1106 says:

    Your trip looks fantastic. Much more exciting that just going to the Miraflores visitors centre like we did. We will have to look into doing this journey once we arrive.


  5. pinkpodster says:

    My great grandfather worked building the Panama Canal. It’s on my bucket list to see and take a trip down it. And visit the towns my family lived in.


    • Oh wow! Your grandfather and the others did one of the most amazing construction projects in the world! I hope you are able to visit, especially since it has such a history in your family.


  6. John and Susan Pazera says:

    Fantastic photos! They bring back so many memories of our transit on our boat in 04. Plus, we learned some things – didn’t know Noriega is back in a Panamanian prison, for instance! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  7. Sally Reed says:

    Have enjoyed seeing how much appears to have changed in the Canal region since my trip thru the Canal back in 1999. They were working on the expansion way back then, so I’m wondering how long it will take before ships can pass one another going in both directions? They were talking about that happening then as China had taken over the management of things & the Us had pulled out. Questions, questions, Kris. You & Joel are living your new life to the fullest and seem to be taking great advantage of all there is to see…. Kudos to you both! Sally Reed


    • I think the canal expansion is supposed to be done by the end of 2015, but there have been delays, problems, budget overruns and such things, so who knows. Yes, we are having fun and getting out and exploring more which is great. Thanks for visiting the blog and leaving a comment. Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂


Comments are closed.